Are Your Home’s Plants Really Pet Safe? Discover a List of Pet Safe (and Unsafe) Plants
If you love pets and have found yourself gardening a bit more since working from home has become the new normal, you may just have your work cut out for you. The plants you add to your garden may not be so friendly to your faithful Fido or frisky feline. It’s true, not all pets and plants get along, but by knowing which plants are pet-safe and which to avoid, you can go ahead and create a beautiful green space without worrying about the safety and health of your beloved pet.
The sad reality is that some plants can be toxic to pets. Some owners have found this out the hard (or should we heartbreaking) way. This fact should be the driving force and sheer motivation for doing your homework before planting anything new in your garden or house. You might think that a plant you choose is common enough and shouldn’t be a problem, but this would be a misguided way of thinking. Still, many common plants can cause a wealth of scary and unpleasant reactions from cats and dogs, including seizures, vomiting, gastrointestinal disturbances, sore tummies, tremors, and in some cases, worse. None of this is pleasant for your pet, and dealing with it when it happens can be a total shock to the human system too. As they say, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
If you haven’t had an experience where your pet has had adverse reactions to a plant, don’t think it can’t or won’t ever happen. Don’t assume that your four-legged sidekick or Kitty cat won’t have a sniff, nibble, or take a bite out of a new plant – inevitably, it happens. Now that the warnings are out of the way let’s get to know which plants are safe for pets and which are not.
5 Houseplants that are Safe for Pets
Here are five common houseplants (you can pot them or plant them in your garden) that are truly safe for your pet. You can rest assured that nothing terrible will happen even if Fido consumes the entire plant or Kitty cat has a serious destructive run-in with one (all accidentally, of course!).
- Spider Plant aka Chlorophytum Comosum
If you are new to the world of plant care, a Spider Plant may have been recommended to you. It’s a great plant for beginners to learn with, and it’s good news that it’s completely safe for pets and children. You will enjoy growing this plant because it’s difficult to kill, especially if you’re prone to spending more time outside with the pets than paying attention to your plants.
- Areca Palm aka Dypsis Lutescens
The Areca Palm is a plant that adds a tropical and fun element to an interior or exterior space. It does best planted in a pot and left to beautify its surroundings in a well-lit area. While it’s a cat’s favourite plant – obviously, with all those dangly leaves to swat and claw at – don’t expect much interest from your dog. The good news is that even with all the playful biting and swatting, and even if Fido does decide to pay the plant a bit of attention, they will be absolutely safe. The Areca Palm is non-toxic to cats and dogs. If you’ve had your eye on one, get it!
- Staghorn Ferns aka Platycerium Coronarium
The Staghorn Fern is a popular choice for an outside space. You can mount these ferns to a feature at home and just let them do their thing. If the plant gets chewed on or falls victim to your cat’s investigations while up in a tree, there’s no need to worry. Staghorn Ferns are non-toxic to both dogs and cats.
- Maranta Plants aka Maranta Leuconeura Kerchoveanamin
Maranta Plants are popular because they can be grown as pot plants or transferred to garden beds where they like to spread. The plant is often called a “peacock plant” because it has a specific way of opening and closing its leaves which are oval with distinct markings. You may find that your pooch is interested in sniffing between the leaves, looking for something (anything), while your cat may want to swat the leaves around or pounce on bugs taking cover beneath them. Either way, there’s no need to worry because Maranta Plants are absolutely safe for cats and dogs!
- Fittonia Mini Red Vein Nerve Plant aka Fittonia Albivenis
As some like to call it, the Fittonia Plant, or “Nerve Plant,” is a popular choice because of the interesting red veins on its leaves. If you want to keep the plant small and ornamental, plant it in a pot. If you want it to spread and create an interesting ground-cover, plant it into a garden bed and watch it spread and thrive. The plants may attract pets, especially if they think something interesting is hiding beneath them. Once again, the good news is that this crowd-pleasing little plant is 100% non-toxic to pets. What a relief, because it’s quite adorable!
5 Herbs That Cats & Dogs Can Eat
If you’re interested in finding plants that are safe for your pets to snack on, you will be pleased to know that there are quite a few. The following are found growing in temperate climates and are healthy for any of your furry friends. You can let them snack on them and feel completely comfortable if you find pet food with any of them listed in the ingredients. The following are safe for both cats and dogs:
The following herbs are also considered “safe” for cats and dogs but can only be eaten in small amounts. For dogs: dill, rosemary, and lavender. For cats: catnip, parsley, and dill.
Are Some Herbs Unsafe for Pets?
Yes, while many herbs are safe and healthy for pets, some are absolute no-nos for your pet because they are unsafe. These are cocoa, tarragon, borage, chamomile, oregano, marjoram, bay leaves, chives, and mint for dogs. For cats, herbs that they should not consume are oregano, cocoa, marjoram, tarragon, chives, bay leaves, borage, chamomile, sorrel, lavender, and epazote.
3 Harmful Plants You Should Not Have in Your Home (If You Have Pets)
Some of the common plants that most people assume are safe for pets are actually toxic. You never know when your cat or dog will have a run-in with the resident houseplant, so it’s a good idea to avoid unsafe plants entirely. Put the following three plants on your no-no list.
- Devil’s Ivy aka Golden Pothos
This is a lovely-looking plant and a popular choice for many homes. It grows in a way that the leaves begin to dangle over the edge of its pot. It’s a very attractive plant to a cat, especially when you consider all those trailing leaves blowing in a gentle breeze. The unfortunate thing about the Devil’s Ivy is that it is very unforgiving to curious pets. If your cat scratches and bites it, or if your dog sniffs and nibbles on it, you may notice that they start to paw at their face, foam at the mouth and experience difficulty breathing. In some serious instances, it can lead to body spasms and seizures. It’s not fun to think about, but it’s better to be informed. It’s even better to avoid Devil’s Ivy altogether.
- Swiss Cheese Plants aka Philodendron
You might have seen this type of plant starring in many stylized photos on Instagram. It’s a popular plant for its ability to spruce up an otherwise boring space. Unfortunately, a playful bite or nibble from either of your furry friends could end badly. Pets that consume even a small amount of this plant experience very unpleasant symptoms, including vomiting, swollen lips and mouths, and a lot of drooling.
These bright and beautiful plants are often the star of the show. They present an array of vibrant flowers and, surprisingly, are used in pesticides and tick and flea treatments. Chrysanthemums are quite dangerous little plants for all their beauty, and if your cat or dog has a sniff or a nibble on one, they may end up feeling quite unwell. Symptoms of even a small amount being ingested include drooling, loss of coordination, vomiting, diarrhoea, and rashes.
Other plants to note include: Lilies, Oleander, Iris, Morning Glory, Sago Palm
What this all means is that you need to put the safety of your pets first. That doesn’t mean that you don’t get to have nice things, don’t worry! Having pets doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your home-beautifying goals. Instead, it means you have to put a bit of extra effort into choosing plants that are beautiful and safe for your pets. Choose plants according to their safety, and both you and your pets will enjoy the new green additions to your home for many years to come.